A traditional dome house in pre-war Syria
A traditional dome house in pre-war Syria ©


There have been nine projects relating to Lebanon with three 10-month projects currently running until 2021. From rehabilitating the historic centres of two cities in Lebanon to collecting, archiving and sharing the traditional skills and living memory of the Bedouins of Bekaa, take a look at the projects below. 

Find out more about the projects:

Dome houses from Syria

£84,616 awarded to arcenciel to preserve and revitalise the tradition of domed houses to offer a housing solution to displaced Syrian families. 

A group of Syrian refugees have received training in building a prototype mudbrick house in the Bekaa valley. This provides the refugees with a heritage skill that can be easily transferred to the job market and potentially a way to reconstruct their houses if they return to Syria. Additionally, the main architect has published a book about this type of architecture in order to record it for future generations.

Music Schools for Refugees

£488,160 awarded to Action for Hope to preserve and promote traditional Syrian music and musical instrument making among refugee communities in two music schools in Lebanon and Jordan. This project is delivered in partnership with the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere and The Aga Khan Music Initiative.

The project has educated and trained 60 young people in traditional Syrian music in Lebanon and Jordan. It has also resulted in a core group of around 20 dedicated and experienced music teachers, who have all received training in traditional Syrian music. Diverse audiences have attended the music school’s many concerts which has contributed to a new and growing interest in traditional Syrian music among cultural communities in the two countries.

10-month project for 2020-21

Action for Hope have been awarded an extra £395,497 following the Impact round. The new project aims to capitalise on the knowledge, skills and talent of these musicians and teachers, and extend the impact of the artistic work the young musicians produce to new audiences.

Find out more about the Music Schools project in our interview with Action for Hope’s director Basma El Husseiny and in this video with Bettany Hughes.

Preserving the historic homes of displaced communities in Lebanon

£1,857,557 awarded to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to rehabilitate a significant portion of the historic centres of two cities in Lebanon. This project is delivered in partnership with The Azm and Saade Association (ASA) and The Development of People and Nature Association  (DPNA). 

The project is working with local partner organisations in Tripoli and Saida to renovate significant sections of the historic core of each city. This work focuses on historic buildings that are in use for residential purposes and will renovate the exteriors and facades of each. Concurrently, historic buildings in the old towns of each city are being mapped to create a database, which will be handed over to the local municipality as part of training in heritage maintenance.

There are complementary outreach activities happening in parallel to the restoration including the creation of heritage trails through the two cities and various elements of community outreach and training for young volunteers to become tour guides.

Preserving the living memory of the pastoral routes and heritage of the Bedouin

£396,621 awarded to The Institute for Heritage and Sustainable Human Development (INHERIT), which is part of the York Archaeological Trust for Excavation and Research Limited, to collect, archive and share the traditional skills and living memory of the Bedouins of Bekaa in Lebanon. This project is delivered in partnership with the American University of Beirut. A grant extension was awarded to this project to enable collaboration with The Centre for Trust Peace and Social Relations, who are also delivering a project focussed on Bedouin heritage. The extension will allow them to further understand patterns and movement of Bedouins in the Levant, how this has changed cultural heritage and how heritage is being transferred between generations.

The project focuses on the intangible cultural heritage of the mobility routes of the Bedouins of the Bekaa valley in Lebanon and in Jordan. It is seeking to build the skills of Bedouin volunteers to document, protect, archive and manage their cultural heritage. These skills will be used to document the practices of these Bedouin communities and there has been an exhibition held in London of Bedouin heritage. Additionally, the project hosted a gathering of Bedouins, including those from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in Wadi Rum, Palestine to celebrate their cultural heritage, view photos from this event on Instagram.

Swansea City Opera Lebanon Heritage Project

£96,700 awarded to Swansea City Opera to create a permanent digital record of the intangible cultural heritage of Palestinian and Syrian refugee groups across nominated camps in Lebanon, seeking to bring communities together through community-based activites such as the re-creation of festivals, the exchange of recipes, dances and shared stories. This project was delivered in partnership with the Dreams of Refugee Association, the American University of Beirut , and Social Humanitarian Economical Intervention for Local Development (Lebanon).

This project successfully documented the intangible cultural heritage of the population of Shatila and Rashidieh refugee camps in Lebanon. Residents of the camps, acting in the capacity of trained staff and volunteers, worked with the local population through various community-based activities to identify and celebrate intangible cultural heritage. A total of 250 digital records were created for inclusion in the archive at the American University of Beirut.

Syrian Stonemasonry Training Scheme

£854,825 awarded to World Monuments Fund Britain to provide a group of Syrian and Jordanian trainees with traditional stonemasonry skills that can be used to repair conflict-affected historic buildings. This project is delivered in partnership with Petra National Trust.

Since 2017, the Syrian Stonemasonry has trained a cohort of Syrian refugees and Jordanians in stonemasonry as well as running community engagement activities with young people living in the area.

Find out more about the project in our interview with World Monument Fund’s director John Darlington and in this video with Bettany Hughes.

10-month project for 2020-21 | Syrian Stonemasonry training - Lebanon

Following the Impact round of funding, World Monuments Fund have been awarded an additional £548,201 for a 10-month project which will build upon the programme of stone-masonry training implemented in Jordan by rolling out the initiative to local people and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Training in Endangered Archaeology Methodology

£2,161,054 awarded to a consortium of three UK higher education institutions (University of Oxford, University of Leicester, and University of Durham) with the University of Oxford acting as the lead applicant, to train archaeologists from eight countries in the use of an open-source aerial recording methodology, designed for conflict zones and other areas where access to the ground is restricted. This project is delivered in partnership with the Department of Antiquities, Jordan; Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, Palestine; General Organisation of Antiquities and Museums, Yemen; Department of Antiquities, Libya; Directorate General of Antiquities, Lebanon; Institut National du Patrimoine, Tunisia; State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, Iraq; Ministry of State of Antiquities, Egypt; and Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt.

To date, 170 archaeologists have been trained in the use of an open-source recording methodology designed for conflict zones and areas with restricted ground access. Additionally, the project has contributed to enhancing records by supporting the creation of national databases.

10-month project for 2020-21

£749,790 has been awarded following the Impact round in order to capitalise on previous work. This involves extending the use of the database, better management of archaeological sites and training professionals in local countries on new techniques in heritage management.